The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Holiday difficult for soldiers

By Cale Vaughan/reporter

Veterans enjoy Valentine’s Day like any other, but some veterans who became TCC students remember when service to their country came in conflict with their loved ones.

Levi Barnard lived 1,500 miles away from his high school sweetheart in Great Falls, Mont., while he served in basic training.

Barnard made sure he could see her at least twice a year.

“I would work extra hours to get a couple days off in a row for her to visit,” he said.

Sometimes they went skiing or checked out Montana’s landscape, Barnard said. Sometimes it was too cold, so they stayed in.

But they couldn’t always enjoy time together.

“The following year, I couldn’t get off for Valentine’s Day because of work,” he said.

Veterans spend a lot of time training, so Valentine’s Day isn’t an option some years. NE student Jeff Maxson spent his first time away from his high school sweetheart on Valentine’s Day in boot camp.

“It was tough not being with her,” he said.

Long-distance relationships are tough to keep while in the service.

“My relationship lasted only two years while in North Carolina,” he said.

And for those who didn’t have a girlfriend, finding one wasn’t easy.

“Guys would travel 100 miles to try and meet a girl,” said Cpl. Stephen Rockhold, a NE student.

Rockhold met his girlfriend at a pizzeria down the road from camp.

“I was considered to be one of the lucky ones,” he said. “There weren’t any women around.”

But he said he wasn’t always that lucky.

“My first Valentine’s Day while in the service was spent at a local pub,” he said. “We tried to go out to eat after the pub, but the places were closed.”

Camps were so far away from cities that Rockhold said a “decent place to take a girl” was hard to find. Maxson agreed.

“Men would take their dates to other cities,” Maxson said. “I took one Valentine’s date to the University of North Carolina campus.”

Rockhold spent a few years in Germany but never had a serious relationship.

He said their word for Valentine’s Day is Fasching, and people in every city in Germany spent Fasching weekend partying or going to parades. But he couldn’t always enjoy the day.

“Other Valentine’s Days, I spent at war in Afghanistan,” he said.

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